Israel and Iran: The Gathering Storm

UPDATE 6 pm Israel time Saturday. No major Palestinian terrorist events reported overnight. The Shavuot holiday begins this evening.


Delight in smooth-sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the State, genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation . . . the strong and violent pacifism . . . the utter devotion  of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality . . . [all these things] . . . constituted a picture . . . of fatuity and fecklessness which, though devoid of guile, was not devoid of guilt, and though free from wickedness and evil design, played a definite part in the unleashing upon the world of horrors and miseries which, even so far as they have unfolded, are already beyond comparison in human experience.

Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm

Churchill’s description of Britain’s passivity in the face of the growing threat of Nazi Germany has rarely resonated as loudly as it does today as the West dithers in the face of Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons. 

Just think of the news of the last week.

***On May 20, just six days ago, on the exact day that International Atomic Energy Agency director Yukiya Amano arrived in Tehran “to negotiate” for inspections of Iran’s nuclear program, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces told a meeting of the heads of the combined forces: “the Iranian nation is standing for its cause, which is the full annihilation of Israel.”

And lest anyone think claim that this is somehow a mistranslation by those who don’t speak Farsi (attempts are always made to say that Ahmadinejad didn’t really say what he said), here is the headline and description of Firouzabadi’s remarks provided by the Iranian Fars News Agency itself on its English website:

“Top Commander Reiterates Iran’s Commitment to Full Annihilation of Israel

TEHRAN (FNA)- Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said threats and pressures cannot deter Iran from its revolutionary causes and ideals, and stressed that the Iranian nation will remain committed to the full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel to the end.”

Can this possibly be any clearer? The cause of the Iranian nation, its raison d’etre, is the annihilation of Israel.

***On May 25, just three days ago, the so-called P5 Plus One group sat down in Baghdad with the Iranians and gave the Iranians a list of Western “goals” which include: halting Iranian production of 20% enriched uranium, surrendering of the Iranian stockpile of nuclear material, and dismantling of an enrichment facility at Qom.

How did the Iranians respond? By laughing at the “goals” and presenting five goals of their own–among which are a demand that the world recognize Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium.

And how did the P5 Plus One respond?

The Obama Administration: “These were difficult talks. We are far apart.”

The European Union representative Catherine Ashton: “It is clear that we both want to make progress and that there is some common ground. However, significant differences remain.”

And what did all parties agree to do?  To meet again in Moscow on June 18th. However, all sides agreed that the Moscow meeting would have “no fixed agenda.”  One cannot help but think of Churchill’s description of  “the utter devotion  of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality. . . [all these things] . . .constituted a picture .. of fatuity and fecklessness.”

***On May 24, two days ago, the IAEA reported that its inspectors had discovered “the presence of particles with enrichment levels up to 27 percent” at Iran’s Fordo underground facility–a percentage that Iran claimed yesterday was a “technical mistake”.

Why is the level of enrichment so important? Here are the grades of enriched uranium:

Slightly enriched uranium (SEU): 0.9% to 2%. SEU is used to replace fuel in some heavy water reactors.

Low enriched uranium (LEU): 2% to 19.75%. LEU at 3-5% is used in the most common nuclear reactors in the world–light water reactors.

Highly enriched uranium (HEU): 20% or greater. HEU at 20% enrichment is sufficient for a crude nuclear weapon. 85%–90% enrichment is sufficient for highly refined nuclear weapons.

To state this clearly once and for all: if Iran was merely interested in “peaceful” nuclear power, there would be no need to enrich uranium more than 5%.

***On May 26, this morning, the Institute for Science and International Security reports that Iran already has enough enriched uranium to produce 5 nuclear bombs.

So imagine that you are an Israeli.

This week you have heard Iran pledge again to annihilate your country; you have seen that the negotiations with Iran are absurd; you have learned that the Iranian enrichment has already reached a point at which nuclear weapons can be produced; and you have discovered that Iran has enough nuclear material to produce 5 nuclear bombs. 

What would your reaction be? What would you expect your government to do? What do you think that your Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will do?

Follow up to yesterday’s blog:

It appears certain that the Egyptian presidential run-off next month will be between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi and Mubarak’s last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.  Already this morning the other leading Islamist vote getter (Abdel Fotouh) has thrown his support behind Mursi.

Beginning today, your humble servant would like to recognize those of you who support Israel by donating to this website. In the coming days, I will include more information about how you can do this.




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